US jobless claims fell back to 393,000 in the most recent week, the Labor Department said Thursday, still showing the impact of superstorm Sandy which blasted the Northeast in late October.
Claims in the week to November 24 fell from 416,000 the previous week and 451,000 in the November 10 week.
But they remained well above the 360-380,000 range held most of this year.
The three weeks of high claims, much the result of the shutdown of the economy in and around New York due to the storm, pushed the four-week rolling average to 405,250.
Many companies in the region, especially small businesses, are still struggling to get back to normal nearly one month after the storm struck.